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A federal district court judge in New Orleans upheld a Louisiana ban on gay marriage on Wednesday, in a break from a string of recent rulings against such bans in other states following a key U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
The decision is the first by a federal judge to uphold a state gay marriage ban since the nation's top court last year struck down a federal benefits law that restricted the definition of marriage to heterosexual couples.
"Louisiana's decision to neither permit nor recognize same-sex marriage, formed in the arena of the democratic process, is supported by a rational basis," Judge Martin Feldman wrote.
Since the June 2013 Supreme Court ruling in the United States v. Windsor case, nearly 30 federal and state courts have ruled against bans on same-sex marriage at the state level. Although one state judge in Tennessee upheld a ban, no federal judges had done so until Wednesday.
In the wake of recent lower court rulings that have struck down state bans on gay marriage, the Supreme Court is expected to take up at least one case on the issue during its next term, which starts in October.
Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky in New Orleans and Lawrence Hurley in Washington; editing by Susan Heavey
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